See Glen Shiel for the much smaller Loch Shiel in Lochalsh.

Loch Shiel (Scottish Gaelic: Loch Seile) is a freshwater loch situated 20 kilometres (12 mi) west of Fort William in the Highland council area of Scotland. At 28 kilometres (17+12 mi) long it is the 4th longest loch in Scotland, and is the longest to have retained a natural outflow without any regulation of its water level, being 120 m (393 ft) deep. Its nature changes considerably along its length, being deep and enclosed by mountains in the north east and shallow surrounded by bog and rough pasture in the south west, from which end the 4 km River Shiel drains to the sea in Loch Moidart near Castle Tioram.

The surrounding highlands are picturesque but relatively rarely climbed as none quite reaches the 3,000 ft (910 m) required for Munro status. A number of the hills are classified as Co...Read more

See Glen Shiel for the much smaller Loch Shiel in Lochalsh.

Loch Shiel (Scottish Gaelic: Loch Seile) is a freshwater loch situated 20 kilometres (12 mi) west of Fort William in the Highland council area of Scotland. At 28 kilometres (17+12 mi) long it is the 4th longest loch in Scotland, and is the longest to have retained a natural outflow without any regulation of its water level, being 120 m (393 ft) deep. Its nature changes considerably along its length, being deep and enclosed by mountains in the north east and shallow surrounded by bog and rough pasture in the south west, from which end the 4 km River Shiel drains to the sea in Loch Moidart near Castle Tioram.

The surrounding highlands are picturesque but relatively rarely climbed as none quite reaches the 3,000 ft (910 m) required for Munro status. A number of the hills are classified as Corbetts, including Beinn Resipol, Sgùrr Ghiubhsachain and Sgorr Craobh a' Chaorainn on the southern side of the loch; and Beinn Odhar Bheag on the northern side. The area is well wooded compared to the many Highland areas that have suffered from overgrazing. The view of the loch looking south from the Glenfinnan monument, showing wooded hillsides with bare summits rising steeply from a fjord-like loch, has become one of the most famous images of the Scottish Highlands. Several major films have used the loch for location shooting.

Loch Shiel is less than 10 metres above sea level, and was formed at the end of the last ice age when glacial deposits blocked what was formerly a sea loch.

A ruined medieval chapel found on the largest island, Eilean Fhianain, is dedicated to St. Finan, and may stand on the site of a cell thought to have been built on the island by the saint in the seventh century. The chapel is thought to have been built by Alan MacRuaridh, a chief of Clan Ranald; the clan used the island as a burial place until the end of the sixteenth century. The island continues to be used for burials, and is a Scheduled Ancient Monument.[1]

Acharacle, at the south of the Loch, is the site of the 1140 battle in which Somerled defeated the Norse to found the ruling dynasty of Lord of the Isles.[2] During these times, the loch had strategic importance as a communications route through the mountains, as the short River Shiel was easily navigable in ancient times, however is no longer navigable as the depth drops to less than a foot. In the medieval period the loch formed the boundary between the provinces or lordships of Moidart to the west, Ardgour to the east, and Sunart in the south.

Castle Tioram on the tidal island Eilean Tioram in Loch Moidart, is located so as to control access to Loch Shiel, and thus to Lochaber and the Great Glen, from the sea.[3] The castle appears to have originally been a principal stronghold of Clann Ruaidhrí.[4] According to early modern tradition, preserved by the seventeenth-century Sleat History, the castle was erected by Áine Nic Ruaidhrí (fl. 1318–50), and certainly served as the seat of the latter's Clann Raghnaill descendants for centuries.[5]

Alasdair mac Mhaighstir Alasdair, the poet and Scottish Gaelic tutor of Bonnie Prince Charlie, was born and raised in the area.[6] At the start of the Jacobite rising of 1745, the prince disembarked at Loch nan Uamh and was rowed the length of Loch Shiel in order to raise his standard at Glenfinnan.[7] After the defeat of the rising at Culloden a number of prominent Jacobites, including Cameron of Lochiel, hid on the small island of Eilean Mhic Dhomnuill Dhuibh in Loch Shiel.[8]

In 1842, during the Highland Clearances when tenants were cleared off the land to make way for sheep farming, the women of Loch Shiel apparently drove off the eviction party.[9][10] The women were apparently armed with shearing hooks and aprons filled with stones.[11]

^ Historic Environment Scotland. "Eilean Fhianain, St Finnan's church and stone crosses (SM6255)". Retrieved 16 April 2019. ^ Henderson, Angus (1916), "Ardnamurchan place-names", in Carmichael, E. C. (ed.), The Celtic Review, vol. 10, William Hodge and Company, pp. 149–168. ^ "Castle Tioram: An account of its cultural significance". Historic Scotland. 2006. Archived from the original on 25 October 2012. Retrieved 30 April 2018. ^ Tabraham, C (2005) [1997]. Scotland's Castles. London: BT Batsford. ISBN 0 7134 8943 X. pp. 29, 111. ^ Stell, G (2014). "Castle Tioram and the MacDonalds of Clanranald: A Western Seaboard Castle in Context". In Oram, RD. The Lordship of the Isles. The Northern World: North Europe and the Baltic c. 400–1700 AD. Peoples, Economics and Cultures (series vol. 68). pp 273-278 ^ "Alasdair mac Mhaighstir Alasdair". BBC ALBA – Bliadhna nan Òran. Retrieved 30 April 2018. ^ Cite error: The named reference qualities was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ "Loch Shiel, Eilean Mhic Dhomnuill Dhuibh". Historic Environment Scotland. Retrieved 1 May 2018. ^ Richards, Eric (2007). Debating the Highland Clearances. Edinburgh University Press. p. 71. ISBN 9780748629589. Retrieved 29 April 2020. ^ Kidlay, Anne-Marie (2015). Women and Violent Crime in Enlightenment Scotland. Boydell & Brewer. p. 101. ISBN 9780861933303. Retrieved 29 April 2020. ^ Szasz, Ferenc Morton (2000). Scots in the North American West, 1790-1917. University of Oklahoma Press. p. 29. ISBN 9780806132532. Retrieved 29 April 2020.
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